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May 24, 2020

Top 20 Most Gorgeous Blonde Bombshells of the 1950s

The 1950s featured the rise of blonde bombshells and their beautiful brunette counterparts. This period was a big decade for film and also big for actresses that became cultural icons.

This is our list of the top 20 most gorgeous blonde bombshells from the 1950s.

1. Marilyn Monroe.

Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962) was an American actress, model, and singer. Famous for playing comedic “blonde bombshell” characters, she became one of the most popular sex symbols of the 1950s and early 1960s and was emblematic of the era's changing attitudes towards sexuality.

Monroe was a top-billed actress for only a decade, but her films grossed $200 million (equivalent to $2 billion in 2019) by the time of her death in 1962. More than half a century later, she continues to be a major popular culture icon.

2. Jayne Mansfield.

Jayne Mansfield

Jayne Mansfield (1933-1967) was an American film, theater, and television actress. She was also a nightclub entertainer and a singer, and one of the early Playboy Playmates.

Mansfield was a major Hollywood sex symbol during the 1950s and early 1960s while under contract at 20th Century Fox. She was also known for her well-publicized personal life and publicity stunts, such as “wardrobe malfunctions”.

3. Anita Ekberg.

Anita Ekberg

Anita Ekberg (1931-2015) was a Swedish actress active in American and European films. She is best known for her role as Sylvia in the Federico Fellini film La Dolce Vita (1960). Ekberg worked primarily in Italy, where she became a permanent resident in 1964.

4. Diana Dors.

Diana Dors

Diana Dors (1931-1984) was an English film and television actress and singer. She first came to public notice as a blonde bombshell in the style of American Marilyn Monroe, as promoted by her first husband, Dennis Hamilton, mostly via sex film-comedies and risqué modelling.

Dors showed a genuine talent as a performer on TV, in recordings, and in cabaret, and gained new popularity as a regular chat-show guest. She also gave some well-regarded performances in worthwhile films at different points in her career.

5. Betty Grable.

Betty Grable

Betty Grable (1916-1973) was an American actress, pin-up girl, dancer, model, and singer. Her 42 films during the 1930s and 1940s grossed more than $100 million. For 10 consecutive years (1942–1951), she reigned in the Quigley Poll’s Top 10 box office stars.

The U.S. Treasury Department in 1946 and 1947 listed her as the highest-salaried American woman; she earned more than $3 million during her career.

6. Anne Francis.

Anne Francis

Anne Francis (1930-2011) was an American actress known for her role in the science fiction film Forbidden Planet (1956) and for having starred in the television series Honey West (1965–1966), which was the first TV series with a female detective character’s name in the title. She won a Golden Globe Award and was nominated for an Emmy Award for her role in the series.

7. Greta Thyssen.

Greta Thyssen

Greta Thyssen (1927-2018) was a Danish film actress and former model, long-resident in the United States. She appeared in films and television series between 1956 and 1967.

She attempted to follow in the footsteps of the reigning blonde sex symbols Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield by forging a movie career. She was Monroe’s double in Bus Stop, and appeared in Accused of Murder, Terror Is a Man, Three Blondes in His Life and Journey to the Seventh Planet.

8. Kim Novak.

Kim Novak

Born 1933, retired American film and television actress Kim Novak began her film career in 1954 after signing with Columbia Pictures, starring in numerous movies, including Picnic (1955). She later starred in some film during the 1950s.

Novak enjoyed box-office success and starred opposite several prominent leading men of the era, including Fred MacMurray, William Holden, Frank Sinatra, Tyrone Power, Kirk Douglas, and Laurence Harvey.

Her contributions to cinema have been honored with two Golden Globe Awards, an Honorary Golden Bear Award, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Novak works currently as a painter and visual artist.

9. Lana Turner.

Lana Turner

Lana Turner (1921-1995) was an American actress. Over the course of her nearly 50-year career, she achieved fame as both a pin-up model and a film actress, as well as for her highly publicized personal life.

In the mid-1940s, she was one of the highest-paid actresses in the United States, and one of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s (MGM) biggest stars, with her films earning the studio more than $50 million during her 18-year contract with them.

Turner is frequently cited as a popular culture icon of Hollywood glamour and a screen legend of classical Hollywood cinema.

10. Mamie van Doren.

Mamie van Doren

Born 1931 as Joan Lucille Olander, American actress, model, singer, and sex symbol Mamie Van Doren is perhaps best remembered for the rock ‘n’ roll, juvenile delinquency exploitation movie Untamed Youth (1957).

11. Cleo Moore.

Cleo Moore

Cleouna Moore (1924-1973) was an American actress, usually featured in the role of a blonde bombshell in Hollywood films of the 1950s. She also became a well-known pin-up girl.

Although she never obtained true film stardom, Moore has become a cult fan favorite, with several of her films being considered cult classics.

12. Barbara Nichols.

Barbara Nichols

Barbara Marie Nickerauer (1928-1976), better known as Barbara Nichols, was an American actress who began modeling for cheesecake magazines in the late 1940s, and eventually was considered a minor rival to Marilyn Monroe.

Nichols often played brassy or comic roles in films in the 1950s and 1960s.

13. Jan Sterling.

Jan Sterling

Jan Sterling (1921-2004) was an American film, television and stage actress.

At her most active in films during the 1950s (immediately prior to which she had joined the Actors Studio), Sterling received a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in The High and the Mighty (1954), and she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for the same performance. Her best performance is often recognized as the “opportunistic wife” opposite Kirk Douglas in Billy Wilder’s 1951 Ace in the Hole.

Although her career declined during the 1960s, she continued to play occasional television and theatre roles.

14. Joi Lansing.

Joi Lansing

Joi Lansing (1929-1972) was an American model, film and television actress, and nightclub singer. She was noted for her pin-up photos and roles in B-movies, as well as a prominent role in the famous opening “tracking shot” in Orson Welles’ 1958 crime drama Touch of Evil.

Lansing has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles for her contributions to television.

15. Jeanne Carmen.

Jeanne Carmen

Jeanne Carmen (1930-2007) was an American model, pin-up girl, trick-shot golfer, and B-movie actress.

16. Sheree North.

Sheree North

Sheree North (1932-2005) was an American actress, dancer and singer, known for being one of 20th Century-Fox's intended successors to Marilyn Monroe.

17. Barbara Eden.

Barbara Eden

Born 1931 as Barbara Jean Morehead, American film, stage, and television actress, and singer Barbara Eden began her television career as a semiregular on The Johnny Carson Show in 1955. She is best known for her starring role of “Jeannie” in the sitcom I Dream of Jeannie.

On November 17, 1988, Eden received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her contributions to television. In 1990, the University of West Los Angeles School of Law granted Eden an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

18. Martha Hyer.

Martha Hyer

Martha Hyer (1924-2014) was an American actress who is best remembered for her role as Gwen French in Some Came Running (1958), for which she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Her autobiography, Finding My Way: A Hollywood Memoir, was published in 1990.

19. Venetia Stevenson.

Venetia Stevenson

Born 1938 in London, Venetia Stevenson is an English-American film and television actress. She was first cast in CBS’s Playhouse 90 adaptation of Charley’s Aunt, with Tom Tryon, Jackie Coogan, and Jeanette MacDonald in 1957, and also appeared on television in episodes of Cheyenne (1957), Colt .45 (1958), 77 Sunset Strip (1958), The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet (1958), Lawman (1958), The Millionaire (1959), The Third Man (1959), and Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1960).

20. Belinda Lee.

Belinda Lee

Belinda Lee (1935-1961) was an English actress.

A profile for the British Film Institute said, “of all the Rank Organisation’s starlets, Belinda Lee stands out as the most notorious, yet paradoxically anonymous, British actress of the 1950s.”

Often cast in demure roles in her early career, she was able to demonstrate her dramatic abilities, but she found more constant employment when she began to play “sexpot” roles. Typecast as one of several “sexy blondes”, she was often compared, unfavourably, to the popular Diana Dors. Typical of these roles was a supporting part in the Benny Hill film Who Done It? (1956).

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